MANY parts of Penang were plunged into darkness as Penangites flicked their switches off, joining millions of others across the globe in showing support for their planet during World Earth Hour.
While most sat back in a state of non-illumination within the comforts of their own homes, others made their way to shopping malls to revel in various meaningful acti-vities.
Over at Gurney Plaza, there was a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency exhibition, Solar Van display, Glow in the Dark Stone Art and Lantern Making contest.
Teams of two raced against the clock to fashion elaborate lanterns from recycled and natural materials, just in time for the commencement of World Earth Hour at 8.30pm on Saturday.
Right on cue, the mall’s facade and non-essential lights were switched off, leaving scores of shoppers, along with a group of some 100 Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) students, to mingle about in the dark at the Kelawei Entrance outdoor area.
A moving sight ensued as candles were lit and music played in the background. The crowd then came together in a huge circle, raising their flames en masse in tribute of Mother Earth.
Results for the lantern contest were then announced, with the pairing of Alicia Goh, 38, and her mother Mok Ah Mee, 62, walking away winners for their multi-tiered creation, which they named ‘Save Our Planet Earth’.
Basking in the glow of 12 tea light candles, the ‘delectable’ lantern comprised of bamboo leaves, ginger flower, pandan, sugar canes, bread loaf twist ties, chopsticks, cardboard, cooking utensils and used light bulbs.
As it is World Earth Hour, we decided to incorporate as many natural elements as possible,” said Goh, an assistant bank ma- nager.
It was a similar scenario over at Penang Times Square, with lights from the mall’s main signage, LCD screen, corridor, advertising panel and Chin Ho Plaza water fountain, all switched off for an hour as well.
At 1st Avenue, internal audit manager Neoh Ai Leen, 37, celebrated a meaningful birthday by doing something she loved — arranging a giant jigsaw puzzle with her family.
Participants were required to piece together 465 pieces of jigsaw, each about 0.45m long, to make up the giant 9.1m x 9.1m formation, which bore the slogan ‘Give Earth Back Its Heartbeat’.
“My birthday is more exciting this year as it coincides with World Earth Hour. It’s great that the mall organised this giant jigsaw puzzle for the public,” she said.
Neoh said both her husband Teo Keat Lye, 39, and herself often spent quality time with daughters Hui Yon, four, and Hui Ern, seven, playing jigsaw puzzles.
She was so excited when she saw the event on the mall’s Facebook page, that she immediately registered.
Institute of Teachers Education Penang Campus student Ding Zi Yuan, 21, from Perak, said the event helped raise awareness about energy conservation to help save Mother Earth.
The mall’s advertising and promotions senior executive Cheong Sook Yeng said the activity not only educated the young on the importance of saving Earth, but it was also effectively promoting family bonding.
During World Earth Hour itself, most lights within the mall were turned off, and members of the public were invited to pedal away on bicycles hooked up to a dynamo for several minutes each.
Their pedalling action generated power to illuminate the words ‘Give Earth Back Its Heartbeat’ on the giant jigsaw.